Tuesday, 23 September 2014

'Slotta Decisions

As well as painting up my Wood Elf leadpile, I'll also be rebasing my existing army (as part of my obsessive-compulsive therapy mass-magnetization process).

Before that can begin, there is the matter of basing. What kind of flock and what colour slottabase should I choose? This will require some thinking: the slottabases will be the only constant colour in the project, and will define its character and theme, the very nature of the whole army. Such a weighty choice...

Calm down Ollivander, it's only a pot of paint.

My very first bases were painted Goblin Green. Because it was the early-1990s, and I was following White Dwarf's unwritten instructions, and I had no imagination. But after slathering it on top of plain sand, I didn't like the final result.

The horror.

And so, despite it not being one of the official colours (i.e. the ones I saw in 'Eavy Metal), I went with a stronger Dark Angels Green (which may have been originally called Ork Flesh) for the base, and some green-grass flock for the top.

Paint job's still rubbish, but we're getting somewhere with the bases.

I liked it, so I stuck with it. I *really* stuck with it: Dwarves, Skaven, Necromunda, Wood Elves, Black Orcs, Hobgoblins, Night Goblins, Mordheim, Dogs of War - no matter what the race, setting or liklihood that they would ever get near a patch of grass, every model was posed on a little patch of tennis-ready turf.

(I still have the original packet of green flock - although I've no idea how it's lasted. It must have covered 600+ bases. The modelling equivalent of the magic porridge pot, I guess. Or the complete opposite of Citadel paint),

I challenged this assumption when I refreshed my Dogs of Empire army. Nothing too ambitious: Rhinox Hide bases and a wash of Agrax Earthshade over the grass. Just something to suggest the muddy fields of battle and campaign on the soil of the Empire

Tough mudders.

That worked well enough, so when it came time for the Savage Orc army, I went with a whole new direction. Steel Legion Drab, plain sand and tufts of 'dead' static grass for the dry plains of the Badlands.

This base ain't big enough for two types of green.

My Dwarves have already been rebased once, and were the first to undergo the experiment - switching from green grass to brown rubble.

It certainly confirmed my suspicions that the colour of the slottas have a huge impact on the army look, but I'm now thinking I want to change their bases a second time for some mountain grey, as the current effect looks a bit too much like they're all on a pebble beach.

Oh we do like to be beside the seaside...

That's a project for another time, but when it comes to Wood Elves, I had some thinking to do. The Dark Angels Green base isn't actually a bad look for them, fitting with the whole colour theme, but there are some good reasons to change it:

  • I've used Dark Angels Green on a lot of the models - cloaks, boots, leggings, gloves. And, as the Savage Orcs showed, taking green out of the base really helps to make the remaining green on the model pop out.
  • A neatly-trimmed lawn isn't in character for the wild wood, so I've got to change the flock anyway.

Exhibit A: 'Wood Elf Sorceress' (a proto-Spellsinger, I believe she was created as 'Yolath the Master Mage' for the 1997 'Perilous Quest' campaign pack)

Wood Elf Spellsinger
In this case, her dress isn't actually Dark Angels Green - just very heavily inked.

I tried a couple of more muted 'earthy' greens: Castellan Green, Death World Forest and (a few shades lighter) Elysian Green. They're all good colours, and I'll be using them for the models themselves, but nothing was hitting the mark in terms of basing.

It then occurred to me that the ground colour of most forests isn't green (the green bits are higher up, I think they're called leaves): it's actually brown.

My two favourite browns had already been spoken for (see the above two armies), but after a bit of trial, I went with Mournfang Brown.

Wood Elf Spellsinger
I shall lead my flock.

Mournfang Brown (under it's original name of Bestial Brown) was the first pot of brown I bought and - this being the old days of few colours and limited funds - I used it for everything brown on my models: weapon hafts, belts, shoes, fur, hair. Suffice to say, I got sick of it a long time ago, and have tried to find alternatives wherever possible.

But I think it works: not too eye-catching, not too bland and it frames the model quite well. Most importantly, it goes with the new pot of flock I've bought:

Wood Elf Spellsinger
Let's get the flock out of here.

This is 'Dead Fall Forest Debris' by Scenic Express - I looked high and low for a flock mixture that gave a proper leaf litter effect. In the end I had to import this tub from the US, and fortunately it seems to work quite well (although it also comes with some very large pieces of bark - I might save them up and build a treeman).

I've also applied a layer of Stirland Mud texture paint on top of the base - which means the flock doesn't need to give complete coverage. It would more realistic to see some of the forest floor beneath the leaves anyway.

That's one model down - I'd better get a flocking move on.


  1. Abaddon Black for the sides of my bases, thanks. Even if it looks artificial. The only reason I'd change now is if they change the name of the paint back to Chaos Black, or forwards to Please Buy More End Times Products Black, or something.

    Nice flock! I was looking dreamily at the tiny individually modelled leaves on Secret Weapon Miniatures the other day and thinking what interesting effects you could do with them.

    1. Yes, the flock came out better than I expected. My other solution for dead leaves was to use an old pot of dried herbs - which may not have looked so good, but my army would smell *amazing*.

  2. I realise (thanks to the fount of knowledge that is Google Doodle) that I posted this on the first day of Autumn.

    Clearly the Asrai influence is already making me attuned to the seasons (i.e. I'll slow to a dead halt in winter, and burst into frantic activity by spring).